Humanist thoughts for exam time

The Kwantlen Multifaith Centre is looking for feedback from various traditions to help students survive their upcoming exams. I thought I’d provide my own thoughts from a Humanist perspective on how to manage what can be a very stressful time.

I’ve written more exams than I can count over 5 years of undergraduate and 3 years of graduate post-secondary education. Luckily, I’ve always had a fairly laid back personality where I try not to let things phase me too much.

A key to this approach, for Humanists, lies in recognizing the cosmic insignificance of the situations we are faced with. Nothing illustrates this concept more aptly and inspirationally (and it is an inspirational idea) than Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.

Put in perspective of the millions of students in the world who have come before, taking billions of exams, one more test is not something to be feared.

We must recognize that no supernatural force, no matter how comforting the myth, will help us through these times. We have to take charge of our situation and put in the work necessary to prepare ourselves as best as possible. And we should remember that we don’t have to face the world alone, a network of friends, peers, and classmates face the same challenges, and by working together we can lighten one another’s load.

Finally, as Humanism is a worldview based on science, let me offer links to a few practical and evidenced-based tips on how to retain information most effectively. My personal best tips are to drink coffee (or other caffeine drinks which stimulates brain activity) and to get a good night sleep (when new connections are built in the brain).

See also: How Humanists cope – why not me? by Jennifer Hancock

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